The Government has outlined Parish Development Model (PDM) as one of its development objectives for the 2023/24 financial year.
PDM which is a Government poverty eradication and job creation programme, launched officially by President Museveni in February last year, aims to boost household incomes as well as the development of micro-enterprises.
The programme aims to help people from parish level to increase their household incomes and joining the money economy. It is an extension of the-whole-of government approach to development as envisaged under the National Development Plan III, with the parish as the lowest administrative and operational hub for delivering services closer to the people, and hence fostering economic development.
PDM seeks to lift Uganda’s population from the subsistence to active participation in the money economy, and encompasses seven pillars that include; Production, Storage, Processing and Marketing; Infrastructure and Economic Services; Financial Inclusion; Social Services; Mindset change; Parish Based Management Information System; and Governance and Administration.
In its maiden year, 2021/22 financial year, the Government sent 17 million shillings to each parish as revolving fund under PDM. The money was sent to organized groups at Parish level, and those groups in turn lent the money in form of loans to their members at low interest rates.
In the following fiscal year, 2022/23, government planned to increase 17 million to 100 million shillings per parish.
Under the plan, 100 million shillings would be sent directly to the Sacco accounts in each parish, from which households could borrow and invest in income-generating activities.
However, since the launch of the PDM in February 2022, a total of 590.2 billion shillings has been disbursed to all the 10,459 parishes nationwide, translating into 50 million per parish.
This falls short of 100 million shillings which government intended to disburse to every parish in the 2022/23 financial years.
In its initial stage of implementation, the programme designed to alleviate poverty at parish level looks failing.
Various Members of Parliament, especially on the opposition side have questioned how 17 million and the subsequent 100 million shillings could pull a whole parish out of poverty.
MORE FUNDS IN 2023/24 FINANCIAL YEAR
Among the objectives of the 2023/24 financial year budget is full-scale operationalization of the Parish Development Model.
The key priorities funded to achieve this include; boosting household incomes and micro enterprises; commercializing agriculture to enhance production and
productivity and improve competitiveness of agricultural products; supporting private sector growth; and investing in the People of Uganda among others.
In order to effectively implement these strategic priorities, the Government has detailed key actions to undertake.
For instance, government has outlined PDM to boost household incomes and micro enterprises.
To achieve this, government has allocated 1.1 trillion shillings to Parish Development Model in the 2023/24 financial year.
70 MILLION JOBS
It is worth noting that President Museveni while speaking at the recent commemorations of the International Labor Day, said PDM has the ability to create 70 million jobs in Ugandan homesteads.
“I ask all citizens to support the government programs that are focused on job and wealth creation, such as the Parish Development Model that will help generate enough jobs for the entire population. If we implement seriously the Parish Development Model, we shall generate 70 million jobs in the 7 million homesteads across the country through modern agriculture alone,” he said.
“There are two major hindrances to the country’s development agenda; the corrupt political class and civil service who either demand for bribes or delay the decision making process, which increases the cost of doing business in the country. I am going to have a big fight with the corrupt. I don’t want you to fall victim of this negative vice. Let’s join hands and fight corruption and be part of the future of the new Africa,” he said.
DIVERSION OF FUNDS
Like numerous poverty alleviation programmes which never achieved their intended objectives majorly due to embezzlement of funds, PDM too has already suffered setbacks in its first anniversary of implementation.
In August last year, three senior government officers from Kitgum District Local Government that included; Chief Administrative Officer, Joel Musisi, Principal Assistant Secretary, Stephen Omony Lakwonyero, and the accountant in charge of production, Agnes Oryem were arrested on accusations of diverting 526 million shillings meant to finance PDM.
Incidents of this nature, coupled with the background of many of the country’s development programs that never achieved their objectives cast doubt in the minds of many Ugandans as to whether PDM will not follow suit.